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Persian Gulf Countries May Use Medical Exams to 'Detect' Gay Visitors

Persian_Gulf_Arab_States_englishRoutine medical examinations conducted on visitors to a group of Middle Eastern nations known as the the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) may be used to "detect" gays, Gulf News reports, citing a senior Kuwaiti official:

“Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,” he said. “However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,” he said, quoted by local daily Al Rai on Monday.

Homosexual acts are banned in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the GCC member countries.

In Bahrain, lawmakers, wary of the growing number of gays coming into the country, had pushed for a crackdown, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures and prompt deportations.

According to Yousuf Mindkar, Kuwait's director of public health, a GCC committee will consider the move on a meeting in mid-November.  Sexual acts between members of the same sex is prohibited in the GCC countries, and prison times in Kuwait in particular can be up to 10 years if any of the participants are younger than 21.

Two years ago, 127 gay men were arrested in Bahrain for what authorities called a "depraved and decadent" party.  Earlier this year, a 39-country poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found the Middle East to be the most intolerant region in the world towards gays and lesbians, along with sub-Saharan Africa.  In addition, the report found slim evidence that attitudes in the region were shifting towards increased tolerance.


Royal Wedding Invite Declined by Crown Prince of Bahrain After Objection from Gay Rights Activists and Other Groups

The Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa has declined an invitation to Britain's Royal Wedding following controversy over his inclusion on the invite list:

Alkhalifa The prince said he had delayed sending his regrets, hoping for the situation in Bahrain to improve before Prince William and Kate Middleton marry on April 29, his office said in a statement.

He said the British media had "misrepresented" his stance and "clearly sought to involve my potential attendance as a political proxy for wider matters involving Bahrain".

Media reports had speculated that the prince would withdraw to avoid embarrassment after the bloody crackdown on mainly Shia Muslim protesters in Bahrain left at least 24 people dead.

Rights groups had criticized Al-Khalifa as well as several other foreign leaders who are on the invite list to Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, AFP reports:

Anti-monarchy campaign group Republic hit out at inclusion of royals from not only Bahrain but also Saudi Arabia, Oman, Brunei, Qatar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Bhutan and Kuwait.

"This guest list reads like a 'Who's Who' of tyrants and their cronies," Republic chief Graham Smith said.

"Whatever happened to William's supposedly strong social conscience? He must take personal responsibility for this and rescind the invitations immediately."

Leading gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the invitations of "royal tyrants" from Bahrain, Swaziland and Saudi Arabia were a "massive misjudgement".

St James's Palace said it had sought advice from Britain's foreign ministry on guests from abroad.


Out ABC News Reporter Miguel Marquez Beaten in Bahrain

Marquez

ABC News reporter Miguel Marquez was beaten in Bahrain covering the Egypt-inspired protests there.

“Hey! I’m a journalist here!” he yelled. ” I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! … I’m hit,” he said. “I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs. I’m now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings.” He paused. “I mean, these people are not screwing around. They’re going to clear that square, tonight, ahead of any protest, on Friday. The government clearly does not want this to get any bigger.”

While the attack on Marquez seems clearly related to the protests, it does add to the larger debate of putting journalists in danger zones. In Marquez' case, another question comes up: how safe are openly gay journalists like Marquez in countries where they routinely imprison, deport, and often kill people for being gay?

Just last week, 127 gay men were reportedly arrested at a party in Bahrain. It's a routine occurrence, and clearly the climate there for gays is not a safe one.

Listen to the harrowing audio of the beating, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out ABC News Reporter Miguel Marquez Beaten in Bahrain" »


127 Gay Men Arrested in Bahrain

Police in Bahrain, a country that imprisons and deports homosexuals, has arrested 127 gay men at a "depraved and decadent" party.

The Gulf News reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef00e5504c849d8833-640wi "The revellers hired a sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village on Muharraq island in the north of Bahrain, and organised on Wednesday evening a fee-paying party that brought together gay men from the Arabian Gulf countries.
Most of the gays were between 18 and 30 years old and one Lebanese and one Syrian were among those arrested following the police bust, Al Ayam daily reported on Friday. Neighbours, complaining about the late night noises emanating from the sports hall in the traditional fishing village, had alerted the police who sent a patrol to verify the claims at around 2.30am."

"An undercover agent paid the 20 dinar entrance fee and was allowed into the hall where he saw dozens of cross-dressers drinking and smoking shishas. More patrols were called in and 127 people were arrested in the police swoop, the daily said.
Initial investigations have revealed that the gays were either Gulf nationals who came to Bahrain for the party or were living in Bahrain and flocked to the hall in Hidd. The organisers are being held separately."

Update: According to at least one report, the party was actually a wedding for two of the men arrested.

This, of course, hardly isn't the first time gays have been targeting in Bahrain. Back in 2008, there were reports of a crackdown aimed at "dangerous" gays in that country and just last year nine "crossdressers" were imprisoned for public debauchery.


Nine 'Crossdressers' Arrested in Bahrain for Public Debauchery

IN Bahrain, where homosexuality is illegal, nine "crossdressers" were arrested on New Year's Eve, the Gulf News reports:

Bahrain "They will be tried in a court of law after the public prosecution completes its investigation. The police did not mention their nationalities, but said that they were from different Arab countries and that they were arrested in a hotel discotheque in Manama. The crossdressers, heavily made-up and wearing provocative outfits, were soliciting revelers at the disco, according to the charges. Some of the men had changed their looks with plastic surgery, the police said. Homosexuality is banned in Bahrain, but lawmakers, wary of the growing number of gays in the country, have been pushing for a crackdown, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures and prompt deportations."

In the past, Bahrain has proposed surveillance of hairdressing salons and beauty and massage spas (because, you know, those are places gays like to hang out) as well as the monitoring of students in order to punish those who appear to have homosexual tendencies.


News: Marriage Language, Jupiter, Harvey Milk, Bahrain

road.jpg California marriage ballot measure language changed: "Proposition 8 on the November ballot had been described as a measure to limit marriage between a man and a woman. But the Secretary of State's office says that description was changed to reflect a May 15 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The ballot title and summary now describe the initiative as a constitutional change to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry. The revised language also says California could lose several tens of millions of dollars in sales taxes if same-sex marriage were banned. Critics of the measure say the change accurately shows the initiative would take away a current right of Californians."

Jupiterroad.jpg Close up on Jupiter.

road.jpg Bunny boiler: Tricia Walsh-Smith puts another hit out on Kathie Lee Gifford, sells husband's condoms on eBay.

road.jpg SF Mayor Gavin Newsom weds in Montana.

road.jpg UK Survey: 4 of 5 Protestants say gay sex is a sin.

road.jpg Shia Labeouf crashes car, arrested for DUI.

road.jpg 'Harvey Milk Day' bill awaits action in California senate: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken no position on the bill, which awaits action in the Senate after passing the Assembly, 45-28, with most Republicans voting no. Randy Thomasson, of Campaign for California Children and Families, which opposes AB 2567, said the bill is a new tactic in a long push to portray homosexuality in a positive light to kids. 'Harvey Milk Day is the equivalent of having Gay Day at every school in the state,' he said."

road.jpg Bahrain MP: No homosexuals allowed.

road.jpg Play about gay Christians offered up to bishops at the Anglican Lambeth Conference.

road.jpg Lucas Grabeel on shooting Milk: "No one told me how great I was. The director hardly spoke to me. I was just doing my thing and talking to these amazing actors. In the beginning of shooting, I thought, 'You guys must hate me. I must be the worst actor. I don't know what to do' and they were like, 'You were hired to do the job. That's why he hired you.' It was an amazing epiphany."

Marioroad.jpg Mario Lopez immortalized in oil.

road.jpg UK activist Peter Tatchell slams Northern Irish homophobic politicians: "It is particularly hypocritical for unionist politicians to play the homophobic card when their hero, William of Orange, had male lovers."

road.jpg Anti-gay New Jersey group National Organization for Marriage stepping into California gay marriage battle: "NOM, a taxable political advocacy group that can raise money without contribution limits, has quickly built up some fundraising muscle. It started a California chapter in January. By March, the group had raised just over $775,000, according to campaign finance filings. Only the California umbrella group ProtectMarriage.com has raised more for the cause. While NOM's biggest chunk in California _ $250,000 _ came from the Knights of Columbus, the group has also raised smaller amounts from individuals. The group says it has now raised more than $1 million in California and more than $2 million overall."

Nakedcowboyroad.jpg Naked Cowboy cuffed, mocked in SF.

road.jpg Matthew McConaughey takes 20-day-old son surfing.

road.jpg Washington Post looks at the transgender homeless: "It's hard to explain -- just as the spectrum of gender is hard to explain. Parents' and society's rejection of children who don't fit the norm is hard to explain, too. But most confounding of all is the forbearance these young people have in the face of intolerance and cruelty. They go -- like the definition of trans-- 'across, beyond and through' preconceptions. They are unlike anyone I have encountered before."

road.jpg Director of Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival fires director Carol Coombes: "'Carol is British and in 60 days she might have to leave the country,' said Harvey Burstein, a festival founder and former board member. He said Coombes' visa requires she be employed in the film industry and that she was to get her permanent residency or green card in November. Coombes, fired on Friday, joined the festival in 2001 and became director a few years later. She declined to comment. 'It's a very unfortunate complication of a very heartfelt, thought-out decision,' said festival board member Mark Gilbert."


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